Haruki Murakami is arguably the most well-known Japanese author for western audiences. With a writing career that spans over forty years, Murakami has been delighting readers for decades with his signature surrealist humour and bittersweet reflection on the transience of life.
While Murakami has written some wonderful novels, I’ve found myself gravitating towards his short stories lately. One of his most memorable collections is Men Without Women, a poignant series of short stories that delves into the concept of loneliness and what it means for different people.
In the absence of female company, all of the men in this collection have lost something. Sometimes it’s subtle, sometimes it’s obvious. The reader feels it in every word and that is Murakami’s talent on full display.
It’s no secret that Japanese whisky has taken the world by storm, regularly fetching high prices at auctions and earning award after award, captivating the hearts and bank accounts of whisky lovers from all walks of life. But this wasn’t always the case.
There was a time not so long ago when Japanese whisky was looked down on as inferior to other whisky varieties like scotch and bourbon. So, what changed? The answers can be found in Brian Ashcraft’s brilliant Japanese Whisky: The Ultimate Guide To The World’s Most Desirable Spirit.
Packed full of insight and history, this is a must-read book for anyone with even a passing interest in whisky and Japanese culture.
Food and drink have the power to be transformative, whether it’s through unearthing a new culture, or the simple joy of spending time with friends and family. That sense of magic can be felt in certain ingredients and transform how we look at categories such as mould. Koji is exactly the kind of magical substance that will change your perception of how a mould is used in food and drink.
Koji Alchemy, written by Rich Shih and Jeremy Umansky, is a comprehensive guide on understanding what makes koji so versatile. From delving into the history of different strains, to offering one-of-a-kind recipes, Koji Alchemy is a must-read book for chefs, fermentation enthusiasts and anyone who’d like to expand their knowledge on an ingredient that’s ushering in a new wave of innovation.
From writers to artists, Japan has a history of inspiring creatives to bring a new dimension to their work. When Spanish artist Amaia Arrazola took up an art residency in Tokyo, she was inspired to create an entire art portfolio after spending a month in Japan’s capital. The Tokyo Travel Sketchbook: Kawaii Culture, Wabi Sabi Design, Female Samurais and Other Obsessions is the fruit of Arrazola’s labour. Continue reading “The Tokyo Travel Sketchbook Review: Capturing The Contradictory Nature Of Japan”→
In recent years, Japanese philosophy has had a profound effect on the West. Practices such as ikigai and yugen have become popular for developing a positive mental health routine. Yet one of the earliest Japanese practices to take off in the West happened to be an amalgamation of both cultures called kaizen.
Japanese cooking features some of the most enjoyable ingredients on the planet and an izakaya is one of the best places to enjoy traditional Japanese fare. Famous for a small-plate style of serving, izakayas are a wonderful place to share a meal with friends and family.
The geisha is one of the most famous images of Japanese culture. Elegant, mysterious and graceful, geisha have connotations with a romantic side of Japan that’s been perpetuated by myths and legends. The truth is a lot more complicated.
The pursuit of finding balance is a life-long goal that’s forever changing. Everyone has different perspectives on what they need to find peace, whether it’s through spending time with friends, or going for a long walk. Author Akemi Tanaka believes the best way to find balance is with chowa, the Japanese concept of harmony.